Author Topic: Have I botched my barleywine?  (Read 2079 times)

Offline arafly

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Have I botched my barleywine?
« on: August 10, 2013, 12:58:44 AM »
To make a long story short, I was over-ambitious about my first batch of beer and went for barleywine. I added more yeast at bottling, as per the recipe, however I did not know at the time that I had under-pitched the first addition of yeast (one pack of Wyeast 1056). To make matters worse, I cracked my hydrometer at bottling time and have no idea what my FG was (don't worry, my brewing noobness has improved greatly since then).

At the end of June, I asked a brewer teaching an all-grain class how badly I had screwed up. He said to put one in the fridge for 2 weeks, try it, and if it tasted phenolic I might want to let it age a little longer. I did this, and it tasted good, but it did have that "hot" taste he told me to look for, so I let the aging continue.

This week I put another in the fridge, tasted it, and it tasted "off." Not quite sure how to describe it other than an unpleasant aftertaste. At this point, it has had 3 months of primary/secondary and about 3 months of bottle conditioning. I'm disappointed, because it was totally drinkable 3 weeks ago and now I am worried that if the alcohol content was not high enough, continued aging was a bad choice. Thoughts?

Offline lornemagill

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Re: Have I botched my barleywine?
« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2013, 06:30:47 AM »
its hard to say.  you may have grabbed an infected bottle.  give it some more time, keep tasting.

Offline arafly

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Re: Have I botched my barleywine?
« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2013, 08:52:45 AM »
its hard to say.  you may have grabbed an infected bottle.  give it some more time, keep tasting.

I'm going to try another, for sure. Being a new brewer, I may just be a little paranoid. The brown ale I bottled right after the barleywine and the saison I made later have both turned out wonderfully.

I was also worried it was getting too warm in my apartment, because my air conditioner broke. In a top-story apartment, my bottles currently conditioning are sitting at about 80 degrees :-(

Offline denny

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Re: Have I botched my barleywine?
« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2013, 08:55:58 AM »
That's OK for bottle conditioning but not for fermentation.
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Offline arafly

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Re: Have I botched my barleywine?
« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2013, 10:30:49 AM »
It may have been that bottle. I opened another that I chilled and it seems fine.

It does bring up another question, though. Was there something to the fact that the brewer from the class specifically said for me to chill one for 2 weeks? The first one (chilled for 2 weeks) did not have any sediment try to sneak out into the glass, but the one I opened yesterday (chilled for 2 days) did. I made sure today to pour it without getting any sediment from the bottle. Could that have contributed to the 'off' taste?

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Have I botched my barleywine?
« Reply #5 on: August 10, 2013, 01:21:43 PM »
It may have been that bottle. I opened another that I chilled and it seems fine.

It does bring up another question, though. Was there something to the fact that the brewer from the class specifically said for me to chill one for 2 weeks? The first one (chilled for 2 weeks) did not have any sediment try to sneak out into the glass, but the one I opened yesterday (chilled for 2 days) did. I made sure today to pour it without getting any sediment from the bottle. Could that have contributed to the 'off' taste?

yeah that could well have.

COuld the flavour have been brothy or meaty? couild be some yeast autolysis flavours that are confined to the actual yeast 'cake' in the bottle.

Could just be yeasty bite.
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Offline klickitat jim

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Offline surfin_mikeg

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Re: Have I botched my barleywine?
« Reply #7 on: August 10, 2013, 06:25:12 PM »
It may have been that bottle. I opened another that I chilled and it seems fine.

It does bring up another question, though. Was there something to the fact that the brewer from the class specifically said for me to chill one for 2 weeks? The first one (chilled for 2 weeks) did not have any sediment try to sneak out into the glass, but the one I opened yesterday (chilled for 2 days) did. I made sure today to pour it without getting any sediment from the bottle. Could that have contributed to the 'off' taste?

On the two weeks thing, no idea as to what that alludes to.

Regarding the one-off infected bottle.  I have had brew infections in random bottles (5%), and what I've learned is that I need to pay attention to air quality in addition to sanitization.  The best advice I've received is to create an air pocket by use of stove-top flame in the kitchen.  The idea is to start the burners on one side, with vent, and then work on the other for bottling and starters.  Maybe overkill, but no way can I hand out a bottled beer and not know that I have 100% quality.

Offline arafly

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Re: Have I botched my barleywine?
« Reply #8 on: August 10, 2013, 11:53:46 PM »
yeah that could well have.

COuld the flavour have been brothy or meaty? couild be some yeast autolysis flavours that are confined to the actual yeast 'cake' in the bottle.

Could just be yeasty bite.

Yes, it was kind of "meaty" I guess. I checked that Beer Studies link that klickitat jim gave (very useful, btw, thanks!) and didn't see what I was tasting on that list. Guess I just need to pour more carefully!

I should also correct something I said above - according to http://www.bjcp.org/course/Class5Lesson1Troubleshooting.php I was using the word phenolic incorrectly. It was an alcoholic bite about a month ago, not phenolic.

Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Have I botched my barleywine?
« Reply #9 on: August 14, 2013, 07:01:03 AM »
It's meaty if it tastes like beef broth. If you're not sure that's what your beer tasted like then it's probably not an autolysis issue. Honestly I would be surprised if you figured out a way to make autolysis show up in six month beer. Most of my bottles sit around 80F during the summer (read: half the year) and I have bottles that are way older than six months old without showing signs of autolysis.

If it is that warm in your apartment and you ferment without any temperature control, and under-pitched, then it is most likely that you fermented the beer outside of the preferred range for the yeast you used, resulting in some off flavors due to yeast stress and/or esters from the warm fermentation. Not the end of the world.
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Offline arafly

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Re: Have I botched my barleywine?
« Reply #10 on: August 14, 2013, 06:59:37 PM »
It's meaty if it tastes like beef broth. If you're not sure that's what your beer tasted like then it's probably not an autolysis issue. Honestly I would be surprised if you figured out a way to make autolysis show up in six month beer. Most of my bottles sit around 80F during the summer (read: half the year) and I have bottles that are way older than six months old without showing signs of autolysis.

If it is that warm in your apartment and you ferment without any temperature control, and under-pitched, then it is most likely that you fermented the beer outside of the preferred range for the yeast you used, resulting in some off flavors due to yeast stress and/or esters from the warm fermentation. Not the end of the world.

The fermentation happened at 70 degrees, because it was done from about January to March, so that probably wasn't the issue. The under-pitching concerned me the most.

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Have I botched my barleywine?
« Reply #11 on: August 14, 2013, 09:23:13 PM »
It's meaty if it tastes like beef broth. If you're not sure that's what your beer tasted like then it's probably not an autolysis issue. Honestly I would be surprised if you figured out a way to make autolysis show up in six month beer. Most of my bottles sit around 80F during the summer (read: half the year) and I have bottles that are way older than six months old without showing signs of autolysis.

If it is that warm in your apartment and you ferment without any temperature control, and under-pitched, then it is most likely that you fermented the beer outside of the preferred range for the yeast you used, resulting in some off flavors due to yeast stress and/or esters from the warm fermentation. Not the end of the world.

The fermentation happened at 70 degrees, because it was done from about January to March, so that probably wasn't the issue. The under-pitching concerned me the most.
If the ambient temp was ~70 the actual temp on a big beer could be as high as 80
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